The ABCs of Blogging For Medical Practices
Ready to take your practice to the next level? Whether you’re a physician or a health coach, blogs can be an incredible resource for you and your business!
Eighty-seven percent of the US population uses the internet. Numerous health sites pump information out at a rapid rate, making information available right on patients’ phones no matter where they’re located. But there’s a secret those sites won’t tell you – they’re monopolizing the information stream because many physicians and medical practices don’t have their own blog.
A blog for medical practices? You read that right. A blog is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get information to both current and future patients, spread the word about your practice, and position you as a leader in your field.
Here are six reasons your practice needs a blog:
A – Address Issues
A 2016 study found that 72 percent of internet users look for health information online. Whether you decide to write about issues addressed in your office – the HPV vaccine, ectopic pregnancy, birth control options if you run an Ob-Gyn practice, for example – or use the space to address specific issues at play in your practice, your blog can quickly become an authoritative source of information.
Some physicians love to use their blog as a space to explain why a well patient exam is an inappropriate time to address problems, how secondary insurance works, or the reasoning behind requiring blood tests every three/six/12 months for patients on certain medications.
B – Bring In More Patients
Quite simply, a blog can help bring more patients to your practice. Repurposing blogs on social media or in your newsletter can boost patient numbers easily without adding much time to a staff member’s or contractor’s workload.
Only around 13 percent of physicians and medical practices have a blog by recent estimates. Jumping into the mix and getting your voice out there will establish your practice as a leader in your field and will draw more patients to the practice. Who knows how many times a simple blog on creative exercise moves will be shared online.
Unsure where to start? Think about your ideal patient. What issues do they have? What do you find yourself discussing most with patients throughout the week? Then write about it in a conversational tone to make it readable for the majority of internet users.
C – Create Trust
Most people dislike going to the doctor. In fact, one in four Americans avoids medical care due to costs. If your practice feels sterile and impersonal, patients will opt to go elsewhere. As with every other industry, people like doing business with people they like. Potential patients – as well as your current patients – want to know who YOU are as a person. Use your blog as a way to introduce patients to your practice and build a relationship of trust before they even enter the front door.
Some of the best blog subjects for medical practices include:
FAQ-based blogs for new products or services (CoolSculpting, Botox, ThermiVa, etc.)
Introductory blogs for new staff members (physicians, MAs, PAs, therapists, sonographers, etc.)
News-like blogs that cover speaking engagements of physicians and other professionals in the practice.
Press release-type blogs that outline awards or accomplishments in the practice.
D – Develop A Relationship Outside The Exam Room
As you build trust with your patient community, you can begin to address some common medical problems – without giving specific medical advice. There isn’t a provider on planet earth who likes Dr. Google, but that doesn’t stop people from Googling their symptoms far more often than they should. Plus, there’s a huge demand for quick medical information right at our fingertips. Providing your patient community with general health information can help solidify trust in your practice and expertise.
According to Harvard Medical School and Google, the top 10 health searches for 2017 were:
1. What causes hiccups?
2. What can I do to stop snoring?
3. What causes kidney stones?
4. Why am I so tired?
5. How long does the flu last?
6. What is normal blood pressure?
7. How to lower cholesterol?
8. What causes high blood pressure?
9. What is ADHD?
10. What is lupus?
While all of these subjects may not apply to your practice, they all present opportunities to generally discuss a condition or symptom, without offering a diagnosis. Some physicians even find that being able to send patients to their blog cuts down on the WebMD printouts they see in the exam room.
E – Encourage A Healthy Lifestyle
You’ve no doubt heard the proverb, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Why not help your patients prevent health issues before the start? Regular encouragement to lead a healthier lifestyle, from a trustworthy source, can help patients care more for their health. You may even see regular physical appointments increase if you run a family medicine practice, for example.
Explore a variety of subjects related to a healthy lifestyle in your blog. Does your practice work with a registered dietician? Have him or her contribute recipes to the blog. Encourage regular movement, meditation, HIIT, cutting out sugar, and other practices that make for healthier, happier patients.
F – Follow Up
Always include a final call-to-action (CTA) in your blogs to encourage patients to follow up with your in the office. Be sure to list the phone number for appointments in your CTA – most phones will hyperlink it automatically, so the reader just has to click on the number to call the office.
Not Sure Where To Start?
Starting slowly is ok. Begin by looking at your practice: which patients do you love and who do you want to attract? What are your healthy hobbies (yoga, making kombucha, mindful travel) that you’d love to discuss? Just start writing down as many ideas as possible.
And if you’re swamped, look to a professional medical blogger to help you out. A good blogger will work with you to ensure that your blogs are factually accurate, don’t give diagnoses, and align with your mission as a physician or medical practice manager.